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Delaware County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

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Guide to Delaware County, Pennsylvania ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

This article is about a county of southeast Pennsylvania. For other uses, see Delaware (disambiguation)
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County Facts
County seat: Media
Organized: September 26, 1789
Parent County(s): Chester[1]
Neighboring Counties
Montgomery  • Chester  • York  • Philadelphia  • New Castle (DE)  • Gloucester (NJ)
Courthouse
Delaware County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Location Map
Delaware County PA Map.png
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for the Delaware River. The county is located in the Southeast tip of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Delaware County Courthouse
201 West Front Street
Media, PA 19063
Phone:610-891-4000
Recorder of Deeds Phone: 610-891-4152
Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans' Court Division Phone: 610-891-4400, Email: walkm@co.delaware.pa.us
Marriages Phone: 610-891-4548
Treasurers Office Phone: 610-891-4273
Delaware County Website

For birth and death records prior to 1906 contact:Delaware County Archives. If you are looking for a birth record between 1893 and 1906, please visit the Register of Wills department located at the Government Center. The Recorder of Deeds processes and preserves records relating to real property dating back to 1789. All records are preserved on microfilm. The Register of Wills is responsible for matters relating to probate and the Orphans Court maintains the records of marriages. Tax records are in the Treasurers Office.

Delaware County, Pennsylvania Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[3]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1893 1885 1893 1897 1789 1790 1790
Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1906. General compliance by 1915.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • Formed from Chester County 26 September 1789.[4]
  • County seat: Media[5]

For animated maps illustrating Pennsylvania county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Pennsylvania County Boundary Maps" (1673-1878) may be viewed at the MapofUS.org website.

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

The following are locations in Delaware County, Pennsylvania:

  • City: Chester
  • Boroughs: Aldan . Brookhaven . Chester Heights . Clifton Heights . Collingdale . Colwyn . Darby . East Lansdowne . Eddystone . Folcroft . Glenolden . Lansdowne . Marcus Hook . Media . Millbourne . Morton . Norwood . Parkside . Prospect Park . Ridley Park . Rose Valley . Rutledge . Sharon Hill . Swarthmore . Trainer . Upland . Yeadon
  • Townships: Aston . Bethel . Chadds Ford . Chester . Concord . Darby . Edgmont . Haverford . Lower Chichester . Marple . Middletown . Nether Providence . Newtown . Radnor . Ridley . Springfield . Thornbury . Tinicum . Upper Chichester . Upper Darby . Upper Providence
  • Communities: Ardmore . Boothwyn . Bortondale . Bowling Green . Broomall . Cheyney . Drexel Hill . Elwyn . Folsom . Garden City . Garnet Valley . Garrett Hill . Glen Mills . Glen Riddle . Gradyville . Haverford . Havertown . Lenni . Lima . Linwood . Moylan . Pine Ridge . Radnor . Riddlewood . Rosemont . Rose Tree . Secane . South Media . St. Davids . Strafford . Villanova . Village Green-Green Ridge . Wallingford . Wawa . Wayne . Woodlyn

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

1641: Swedes and Finns spreading north from Fort Christina (present-day Wlimington, Delaware) first settle in Finland (Chamassungh), now Trainer, Pennsylvania[6][7][8] and Upland (Meckopenacka), now Chester, Pennsylvania.[9][10][11] The New Sweden Colony continues to expand northward with new settlements as far as Philadelphia in the following years.

1651-1655: The New Netherland Colony builds Fort Casimir[12][13][14] (now New Castle, Delaware), settle Sandhook,[15][16][17] and abandon Fort Beversrede (now Philadelphia) in 1651. In 1654 New Sweden captures Fort Casimir from the Dutch without a fight and renames it Fort Trinty (Trefaldighets).[18] In 1655 New Netherland returns with a large army and all of New Sweden in presend-day Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey submits to Dutch rule.[19]

1664: As part of the Second Anglo-Dutch War New Netherland including southeast Pennsylvania is surrendered to the English.[20]

1673-1674: A new war breaks out and the Dutch send a large armada to retake New Netherland for a few months. But as the war ends the colony is ceeded to England for the last time.[21]

1680s: William Penn founded the English colony of Pennsylvania after receiving a grant in 1681 from the king of England. His colony offered religious freedom, liberal government, and inexpensive land. Quakers established the city of Philadelphia.

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Delaware County, Pennsylvania online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Pennsylvania Cemeteries for more information

 

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The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.


Additional Cemetery Resources

Census Records[edit | edit source]

For links and tips on using Federal (or United States) census records online for Delaware County, see: Pennsylvania Census.


Church Records[edit | edit source]

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. For members, they may contain: age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage date and maiden name; death/burial date. For general information about Pennsylvania denominations, see Pennsylvania Church Records.

The Museum/Research Library of the History of Delaware County holds a number of Church Records related to Delaware County.

County-wide Database - Multi-denominational

Delaware county pennsylvania churches.png
Contains the church records of:
  • Jonathan Worrall Justice of the Peace Docket
  • W.P.A. Project/Gravestone Inscriptions
  • Chadds Ford: St. Luke's Church, Chadds Ford
  • Chester: Chester Rural Cemetery Association; Madison Street United Methodist Church; Providence Avenue United Methodist Church; St. Paul's Episcopal Church; United Methodist Church
  • Essington: Protestant Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist
  • Gradyville: Record of Pastors
  • Manoa: Bethesda Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Marcus Hook: St. Martin's Episcopal Church
  • Media: First Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Middletown: Wesley United Methodist Church
  • Newtown: Newtown Cemetery Association
  • Norwood: Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Philadelphia: Benjamin Paschall Justice of the Peace Docket
  • Radnor: St. Martin's Episcopal Church
  • Rockdale: Calvary Episcopal Church of Rockdale
  • Rose Valley: Old Union Methodist Episcopal Burial Ground[22] Also known as: Union Methodist Church Cemetery, Old Union United Methodist Church Cemetery and Union M.E. Cemetery
  • Rosemont: Good Shepherd Episcopal Church; Radnor Methodist Church
  • Springfield: Springfield Friends Graveyard; St. John's Lutheran Church Springfield
  • Thornbury: Stony Bank Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Wallingford: Trinity Lutheran Church
  • Yeadon: Fernwood Cemetery; Holy Cross Roman Catholic Cemetery
  • 1682-1800 - Humphrey, John T. Pennsylvania Births, Delaware County, 1682-1800 Washington, D.C.: Humphrey Publications, 1995. FHL Book 974.814 K2h.
Contains the church records of Chester Monthly Meeting, Chester; Concord Monthly Meeting, Concord Township; Darby Monthly Meeting, Darby; Radnor Monthly Meeting, Radnor Township; St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal Church, Chester; St. David's Protestant Episcopal Church, Radnor Township.

Cyndie Enfinger has compiled a detailed list of Delaware County, Pennsylvania churches at PAGenWeb

Episcopalian
St. David's Church, Radnor

Communion lists begin in 1722, baptisms in 1727, marriages and burials in 1800.[23]

St. John's Church, Concord

Early registers are lost.[23]

St. Paul's Church, Chester

Registers begin in 1704.[23]

  • 1704-1733 - Marriage Record of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Chester, 1704-1733 (Pennsylvania Archives, Series 2, Vol. 8, Part 5) at Ancestry ($); Google Books

St. Martin's Church, Marcus Hook

Vestry books begin in 1724.[23]

Presbyterian
First Presbyterian Church of Darby, Glenolden

Presbyterian Church, Chester

Presbyterian Church, Darby

Court Records[edit | edit source]

For information about records kept in the Orphan's court, Prothonotary Court, Court of Common Pleas, and other courts in counties of Pennsylvania, visit the Pennsylvania Court Records Wiki page. The Office of the Prothonotary in Delaware County has been merged into a new department called the Office of Judicial Support.
Prothonotary
Director: Angela L. Martinez, Esquire
Government Center, Room 126
201 W. Front Street
Media, PA 19063
610-891-4370
Website

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

For online resources, passenger lists, and specific groups coming to Pennsylvania, see Pennsylvania Emigration and Immigration.

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

For groups that came, see People section of the Pennsylvania Emigration page.

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

The Orphan's Court ensures the best interests of those not capable of handling their own affairs: minors, incapacitated persons, decedents' estates, and more.[27]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a specific location and reveal family relationships. Records include: deeds, abstracts, indexes, mortgages, leases, grants, sheriff sales, land patents, maps and more. For more information, see Pennsylvania Land and Property.

Media:Delaware county pennsylvania townships.pngDelaware county pennsylvania townships.png
About this image

Land records in Delaware County began in 1770. These records are filed with the Recorder of Deeds office in Media, Pennsylvania.

Online Land Indexes and Records

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Philadelphia CountyMontgomery CountyChester CountyGloucester CountySalem CountyNew Castle CountyPA DELAWARE.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


United States Geographic Survey Place Names - GNIS for Delaware County (over 1500)
(may not always be present in alphabetic order on first try.)

Maps

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War
Men in what is now Delaware County (then Chester County) served in the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment.[28]

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Naturalization records can contain information about immigration and nativity. Prior to 1906, it is rare to find the town of origin in naturalization records. For more information, see Pennsylvania Naturalization

Online Naturalization Indexes and Records

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers may contain obituaries, births, marriages, deaths, anniversaries, family gatherings, family travel, achievements, business notices, engagement information, and probate court proceedings. Newspapers are often found in local or university libraries, historical or genealogical societies, or state archives in the area where the newspaper was published. See Pennsylvania Newspapers for more information.

Newspapers of Delaware County

Online Newspapers

To learn if there are newspapers online for a specific town or city in Pennsylvania, see news.google.com/newspapers and search for the town or the name of a newspaper.

Online Newspaper Abstracts

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Obituaries are generally found in local newspapers where the person died or where family members lived. Local libraries or societies may have indexes or other sources.

Online Obituary Abstracts

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate matters in Delaware County are handled by the Orphans' Court and start when the county was created.

In addition to wills and administrations, the Orphans' Court also handles: audits of accounts of executors, administrators, trustees, and guardians; distribution of estates; appointments of guardians; adoptions; appeals from the Register of Wills; inheritance tax appeals, and various petitions and motions. Online Probate Indexes and Records

Online Will Abstracts

School Records[edit | edit source]

  • Swathmore College: 1883-1956 (Online at the Internet Archive)

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital records are handled by the County Orphans' Court. Between the years 1852-1855 Pennsylvania made a failed attempt to record birth, marriage and death events at the county level. County marriage records were kept in earnest in 1885. Births and deaths, at the county level, were begun in 1893 and kept through 1905. For the most complete set of records, contact the County Orphans' Court.


Birth[edit | edit source]

Early births 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. For more information, see Pennsylvania Vital Records.

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Pennsylvania marriages were created by county officals. Contact Delaware County Courthouse

The following records are available at the Delaware County Archives:

Death[edit | edit source]

Early deaths 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. For indexes and records, 1906 and later, see Pennsylvania Vital Records.

The following records are available at the Delaware County Archives:

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Divorce records are available through the office of the Prothonotary.

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Delaware County Archives
340 North Middletown Rd
Building 19
Lima, PA 19063
Mailing Address:
201 West Front Street
Media, PA 19063
Email: archives@co.delaware.pa.us
Website

The archives has will administrations 1790-1935; county home records 1806-1929; birth 1852-1906; marriage records 1852-1854 and 1885-1940; death records 1852-1854 and 1893-1906; court records 1790-1929; veterans' graves registration 1775-2010; prison records 1873-1917; naturalization records 1795-1990; wills 1789-1935; and more.

National Archives at Philadelphia
14700 Townsend Road
Philadelphia, PA 19154-1096
Phone: 215-305-2044
Fax: 215-305-2052
Website

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes.

Libraries[edit | edit source]

  • Delaware County Library System (DCLS)
    Administrative Headquarters
    340 N. Middletown Rd., Fair Acres Bldg. 19,
    Media, PA 19063
    Phone: 610-891-8622
    Fax: 610-891-8641
    Online Catalog
    Website
    There are 22 libraries in the DCLS library system. They have a sizable genealogy and biography collection.

Museums[edit | edit source]

The museum also has a family name index "for stories to augment your genealogy research."
Founded in 1732. Has Research facilities.
  • Pennsylvania Veterans Museum
    Media Armory
    12 East State Street
    Media, PA 19063
    Phone: 610-566-0788
    Website
Education is the main focus. It is also creating a living history database.

Societies[edit | edit source]

  • Delaware County Historical Society
    408 Ave. of the States
    Chester, PA 19013
    Phone: 610-359-0826
    Website
The Delaware County Historical Society has been collecting and preserving items of the county's history. The research library contains an extensive collection of Bible, birth, burial, census, church, court, genealogical, land and marriage records, as well as maps, newspapers, telephone books, city directories, and yearbooks. The museum hosts four exhibits a year.

Websites[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delaware_County,_Pennsylvania accessed 2/2/2017
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  6. "New Sweden" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Sweden (accessed 7 November 2008).
  7. Albert Cook Myers, Narratives of Early Pennsylvania, West New Jersey and Delaware, 1630-1707 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1912; reprint Barnes and Noble, 1959; digitized by Google, 2008), 69, note 3. "Chamassung or Finland, where the Finns dwelt, was on the west side of the Delaware River, between the present Marcus Hook in Pennsylvania, and the mouth of Naaman's Creek just over the circular state line in Delaware."
  8. Memoirs of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, v. 3, (Philadelphia:M'Carty and Davis, 1834; digitized by Google, 2006), 11. "Chamassungh, or Finland. This place was inhabited by Finns, who had strong houses, but no fort. It lies at the distance of two German miles, east of Christina, by water; and, by land, it is distant two long Swedish miles."
  9. Amandus Johnson, "Detailed Map of New Sweden 1638-1655" in Amandus Johnson's book The Swedes on the Delaware 1638-1664 (Philadelphia: Swedish Colonial Society, 1915), 392.
  10. Johnson, Swedish Settlements, 372. "Johann Companius, who was called by the government to go to New Sweden in 1642, was placed on the new budget, with a salary of 10 R.D. a month and seems to have been looked upon as a sort of military preacher. He was stationed at Christina, but shortly after his arrival here he was transferred to Upland, where he settled with his family and conducted the service at New Gothenborg."
  11. Myers, 150. "If now [the land at] Upland, which belongs to the Company, and is large enough for the sowing of twenty or thirty bushels of grain, might be given to the parsonage for Nertunius, together with the small houses there, it would be very well; then he would need no other salary from the Company." and footnote 4, "Now Chester."
  12. Amandus Johnson, "Detailed Map of New Sweden 1638-1655" in Amandus Johnson's book The Swedes on the Delaware 1638-1664 (Philadelphia: Swedish Colonial Society, 1915), 392.
  13. "Fort Casimir" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Casimir (accessed 7 November 2008).
  14. Philip S. Klein, and Ari Hoogenboom, "A History of Pennsylvania, 2nd ed." (University Park, Penn.: Penn State Press, 1980; digitized by Google at http://books.google.com/books?id=AB24rFZOmzcC), 11.
  15. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  16. Peter Stebbins Craig, "Chronology of Colonial Swedes on the Delaware 1638-1712" in The Swedish Colonial Society [Internet site] at http://www.colonialswedes.org/History/Chronology.html (accessed 10 November 2008). Originally published in Swedish Colonial News, vol. 2, number 5 (Fall 2001). "1651 - Dutch build Fort Casimir at Sand Hook (New Castle) and abandon Fort Bevers-reede in Schuylkill."
  17. Johnson, Swedes on the Delaware, 294. "In October, Novermber, and December the new freemen were ordered to clear their lands at various places, for the purpose of planting maize in the coming spring; and several fields at Sandhook, at Fort Christina and up at the [Christina] River were cleared and sewn for the benefit of the company with the grain which Mr. Lord had brought in . . ."
  18. "New Sweden" in Wikipedia.
  19. "New Sweden" in Wikipedia.
  20. "New Netherland" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_netherland (accessed 13 December 2008).
  21. "New Netherland" in Wikipedia.
  22. This is the name per Delaware County Cemetery Records at: https://www.accessgenealogy.com/cemetery/delaware-county-pennsylvania-cemetery-records.htm
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 Philip Syng Physick Conner,"Registers of the Anglican Church in Pennsylvania prior to 1800," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 12 (1888):341-349. For online access, see WeRelate.
  24. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/2/23/Igipennsylvaniac.pdf.
  25. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/2/23/Igipennsylvaniac.pdf.
  26. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/2/23/Igipennsylvaniac.pdf.
  27. The Philadelphia Courts at Common Pleas accessed 10 July 2012
  28. John B.B. Trussell and Charles C. Dallas, The Pennsylvania Line; Regimental Organization and Operations, 1776-1783 (Harrisburg, Pa.: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1977). Digital version at Family History Archive.
  29. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/2/23/Igipennsylvaniac.pdf.
  30. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/2/23/Igipennsylvaniac.pdf.

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